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Barcelona star Iniesta should brace for frosty Chelsea reception, warns Azpilicueta

4:56 PM IST 19/02/18
AndresIniesta - cropped
The World Cup winner is relishing returning to Stamford Bridge, but a fellow Spaniard does not expect him to be well received on Champions League duty

Cesar Azpilicueta has warned Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta to expect a hostile reception from the Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Iniesta stunned Blues supporters with a sublime stoppage-time strike to earn a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their 2008-09 Champions League semi-final, sending 10-man Barca through to the final on away goals.

It was a hammer blow for Chelsea, who saw multiple penalty claims turned down by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo in an outcome that still rankles with the club's faithful.

Iniesta last week said it will be "special" to return to Stamford Bridge, but Azpilicueta thinks it is unlikely he will be made to feel welcome.

"I remember that I was in Osasuna when he scored that goal to take Barcelona to the final in Rome," the versatile defender told AS.

"That changed his history so much and I think the Chelsea fans still feel that in their hearts.

"I think Andres continues to generate nightmares and I do not think we will get a good reception."

With Chelsea 19 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City, the Champions League and FA Cup represent the Blues' only remaining chances of ending the season with some silverware.

"I can tell you that we are very excited to get to the quarter-finals, although it will not be easy," said Azpilicueta.

"It's always interesting to play against a team that has many of the best players in the world. Barca play well, they know what to do at all times and the challenge is exciting."

On what Chelsea need to do to stop Lionel Messi making the difference, he added: "By playing the game of our dreams and being together. There is no other way. He is a different player from the rest."